A taskforce has been set up by the government to look into tackling the “deplorable” crime of pet theft, which has soared during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In March, DogLost, a UK charity that helps victims of dog theft, recorded a 170% increase in the crime, from 172 dogs reported stolen in 2019 to 465 in 2020.
The taskforce will look into what is contributing to the rise in dognapping, and recommend solutions to tackle the problem. It will be made up of officials from the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice as well as the police, seeking input from animal welfare groups and experts.
Dog-theft campaigners have called for pet theft to be made a specific offence, with more robust punishment than for the theft of property, and say those who are caught are often handed only a small fine or suspended sentence. According to the Pet Theft Reform campaign only 1% of dog theft crimes in recent years have led to a prosecution.
Campaigners have also called for reform of the current system of pet microchipping to improve the chances…